Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

Does anyone else think “7-Eleven” when they hear the words “green light”? It’s funny how certain phrases become stuck in our heads, and trigger other thoughts when you hear them. I’ll be watching tv and someone will say something, and I’ll think of a line from a 20 or 30 year old U2 song. I have many of those triggers, some of them from songs I haven’t really listened to in years. Weird the way our brains work. Or the way I can introduce U2 into any conversation.

Stay is a little bit of a mystery to me. It’s a song I really like, but it’s another song that seems to have a number of meanings, or that goes in a number of directions. Musically it’s good, although not outstanding, it gives off a calming kind of mood with occasional rise and fall. Not that it’s simple, it’s got a clear theme, it’s just that the theme is repeated throughout most of the song and there’s little variation. It’s the words that make the difference here, and that’s what seems to drift around. Like I said, a bunch of meanings, none of which appear to be related. It’s almost like every couple of lines the story changes, maybe like switching channels while watching tv (a theme of Zoo TV, of course). And they do mention satellite television, where you can go anywhere - and the list of cities, which always amuses me when he puts in the city that the show is in and the crowd gives a loud cheer.

The other lyric I love from this song is “a vampire or a victim, it depends on who’s around”. That speaks to a lot of things, but one I think of is the duality of the band, their seeming role as best band in the world rotating with people loving or hating their newest music. Sometimes they play the part of the vampire, sitting on top of the world, and other times the victim, when the reviews aren’t so good and they have to go away and think things up again.

The song is of course always associated with the movie Faraway, So Close, which I think I might give a review to by itself, although it’s only tangentially involved with U2. The video for the song is totally taken from the movie though, so they do have that relationship. The video is much clearer than the song though, it is obvious that the band are angels for each of their related members (well, obvious if you’ve seen the movie), and they do things for them, like Larry playing drums and Edge tuning the guitar. Adam doesn’t do anything though, he always seems to have a minor role in things like this. The best of course is Bono with the singer - surprisingly at first, it’s a female singer - and all their interaction. I don’t know how many takes it took to film, but they must have been struggling not to laugh at each other with their bodies and faces so close like that.

And every time I head the word bang, I have another trigger thought, on a bang and a clatter as an angel hits the ground. And this trigger always adds a visual, the shot of Bono striking the ground at the end of the video. Love that bit, I don’t know why.

My rating for Stay (Faraway, So Close!): 7 / 10